Episode Discussion | Doctor Who | 1x01 "Space Babies" and 1x02 "The Devil's Chord"

"Space Babies"

LoglineRuby learns the Doctor’s amazing secrets when he takes her to a Baby Farm in the future that’s being run by babies, but threatened by a bogeyman.

Written by: Russell T. Davies

Directed by: Julie Anne Robinson

"The Devil’s Chord"

LoglineWhen the Doctor and Ruby meet The Beatles, they discover that the all-powerful Maestro is changing history.

Written by: Russell T. Davies

Directed by: Ben Chessell

This thead is a trial balloon to gauge whether there’s interest in having ongoing “Doctor Who” discussion threads, or perhaps a local community.

@Corgana@startrek.website avatar

Space Babies was very RTD but I actually thought it was charming and pretty fun. Ncuti has a lot of promise, too.


‘Space Babies’ was a classic RTD dumpster fire. It felt like a first draft and the exposition dump at the beginning was very badly done. The script editor should have pushed back hard on this one.

‘The Devil’s Chord’ was better although hamstrung by the fact that they couldn’t afford the rights to any Beatles music.

Ncuti and Millie have quickly established themselves and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season brings.

@jordanlund@lemmy.world avatar

So far, it’s better than all of the Whittaker run and probably 1/2 of Capaldi.

Only 2 real complaints:

  1. Did he really need to say “Space Babies” every few minutes? Seemed excessive.
  2. Is it wise casting a drag queen as a villain given all the anti-drag queen sentiment? I know, I get it, maybe it’s not as bad in the UK as it is here, but do we need to further demonize drag queens?

+1 note… LOL…

I was convinced the lost chord was going to be the mystery chord that opens A Hard Day’s Night.


@ValueSubtracted@startrek.website avatar

Is it wise casting a drag queen as a villain given all the anti-drag queen sentiment?

Gosh, what a loaded question! I think it ultimately boils down to a question of representation - these things shouldn’t be a problem in isolation, but they can be a problem if it’s part of a greater pattern. It does sound like Davies is intent on weaving queerness throughout all aspects of this series, so that will probably make a difference.

I was convinced the lost chord was going to be the mystery chord that opens A Hard Day’s Night.

I had the legendary chord from “A Day in the Life” in mind, which of course isn’t really possible on a single piano (at least, not to its full effect).


I could not get into the baby episode. The talking babies just put me off. Might have been scarier than the actual monster.

But the devil’s cord was better. Great concept. Good mix of fun and serious and a nice follow up to the toy maker. I didn’t feel it really made the most use of the beatles though, the maestro could have been in any time period with any musician. I was pleasantly surprised by the twist at the end.

RTD likes his recurring threads, so I guess the pantheon is going to anchor this series. So far we’ve had masters (gods?) of toys and music. What next - the different parts of what makes being human? Love? Food? And how does Ruby fit into it.

So far ncuti and millie are fitting in well. A bit different, bringing their own flair, but still capturing the right feel.

@ValueSubtracted@startrek.website avatar

It does seem that RTD is going harder into serialization this time around - the Ruby story reminds me a lot of Clara’s tenure with Eleven (which wasn’t the best, but what can you do?).

@ValueSubtracted@startrek.website avatar

“The Devil’s Chord”

All right, it’s hard to make the case that this one was less silly than “Space Babies,” but I enjoyed this one more, largely on the strength of Jinkx Monsson’s delightfully unhinged performance as Maestro, and the fact that I love The Beatles (not that they get a lot to do).

This is one of those high-concept episodes built around an interesting premise (“the world would end if there was no music”) that DW often does really well. I think in this case, they could have done a little more to show the lives of the people in this music-free world, but it worked well enough.

Having Lennon/McCartney finish the Maestro off with the lost chord was blindingly obvious, and extremely perfect.

I’ve got to say, Chris Mason did an amazing job capturing John Lennon’s mannerisms while singing. I happened to watch “Let It Be” the other day, and the guy did his homework. Pour one out for George and Ringo, though - they really didn’t get anything to do.


I just finished watching Space Babies - I have to say, I missed this. It’s been a long time since Doctor Who was fun - I love all Doctor Who, even the bad ones (especially the bad ones) but my heart is really with the bizarre, campy, man-in-a-rubber-suit style episodes like this one. If anyone was worried this was going to get Disney-fied, this is RTD at the most RTD. I might as well have been watching the Ninth Doctor take Rose to the End of the World. Ncuti is the Doctor the very instant he steps on screen, and the Doctor/Ruby chemistry is absolutely perfect. I don’t love her being a mystery box but as long as the explanation is suitably weird I’ll go with it.

A bit of a new experience for me in that this time I got to watch it with my daughter — she’s nine and a huge Trek fan. She liked Church on Ruby Road and we watched a bit of other doctors, but I wasn’t sure she’d take to this, but she was just beaming the whole time. Bit of a new experience for me because other than some Tom Baker episodes on old VHS tapes, I was an adult by the time I came to DW. It’s fun to see it through the eyes of a child.

Also, uh, did the Doctor just suggest that the world of Star Trek is real in his universe?

@ValueSubtracted@startrek.website avatar

My least favourite type of RTD episode is the Goofy RTD Episode, and this was definitely that. I doubt it will end up ranking too highly on my list by the end of the season.

That said, I always appreciate social commentary that’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer, and the episode delivered on that. And Ncuti Gatwa’s physical presence is something special - I don’t think we’ve seen that kind of physicality since Matt Smith.

Also, uh, did the Doctor just suggest that the world of Star Trek is real in his universe?

This is obviously a sign that setting up this discussion thread was the right decision.

@ValueSubtracted@startrek.website avatar

I’m not sure when I’m actually going to be able to watch them, but I’m looking forward to the full Ncuti Gatwa experience!

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